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Marston’s Says First-Half Profit Rose 46% on Sales, Lower Costs

Marston’s Plc, the pub owner that runs the Pitcher & Piano chain, said first-half profit rose 46 percent as revenue increased and finance costs fell.

Net income climbed to 30.3 million pounds ($49 million), or 5.3 pence per share, for the 26 weeks ended April 2, from 20.7 million pounds, or 3.6 pence a share, a year earlier, the Wolverhampton, England-based company said in a statement today. Revenue rose 2.8 percent to 317.9 million pounds and finance costs fell 21 percent to 30.8 million pounds.

Marston’s is trying to counter the impact of cheap beer at supermarkets such as Tesco Plc by promoting food at its pubs. Comparable food sales rose 5 percent, the company said.

“The performance of the group in the first-half of the year has been encouraging,” Ralph Findlay, chief executive officer of Marston’s, said in today’s statement. “This has continued with good trading over the Easter period.”

Marston’s, whose share price has risen around 12 percent in the past year, maintained an interim dividend of 2.1 pence per share.

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